Garfield Park: World's Fair Bulls with Maidens
Daniel Chester French (1850–1931), one of America’s most celebrated artists, often collaborated with Edward Clark Potter (1857–1923), who specialized in sculptures of animal figures. Together, they produced original twelve-foot tall versions of the Bulls with Maidens sculptures for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. The massive plaster sculptural pair, known also as the Statues of Plenty stood in front of the Agricultural Building at the World's Fair. One female figure emulated Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, to represent the Old World; and the other—a Native American goddess of corn—symbolized the New World.
Small plaster models of the sculptures were displayed in an outdoor art exhibit in Humobldt Park in 1908. For the exhibit, renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860–1951) placed the five-foot-tall versions of the Bulls with Maidens at the entrance to Humboldt Park’s Rose Garden. This pair was sometimes called World's Fair Bulls. The following year, in a similar outdoor art exhibit in Garfield Park, Jensen included Edward Kemeys’s World’s Fair Bison. Both sets of animal sculptures were so well-loved by the public that the West Park Commissioners had them recast in bronze in 1912. Approximately three years later, park administrators switched the locations of the two pairs of bronze sculptures. (The reason for this switch is unknown.) The World’s Fair Bison were placed at the entrance to the Humboldt Park garden facing inward, while the bulls flanked the entrance to the Garfield Park garden facing Hamlin Avenue.
The Bulls with Maidens remained in front of Garfield Park’s formal garden until the early-1980s, when vandals stole one of the sculptures and badly damaged the other. In 2003, conservator Andrzej Dajnowski repaired the damaged sculpture, re-created the missing one, and installed the pair just west of the Garfield Park Conservatory. In 2010, the missing sculpture was discovered in Virginia. Although the Chicago Park District recovered the stolen monument, the sculpture had suffered great damage. The stolen sculpture currently in storage. The original monument will be conserved and returned to Garfield Park when funding becomes available.